Baked Chicken Parmesan

Who said Chicken Parmesan had too many calories!?  Well, make it my way & you’ll hardly know the difference AND you’ll walk away with a balanced meal!  This was seriously awesome!  I hate to keep putting the exclamation marks, but I can’t help it because it really was that good.  There is a little more prep time involved in this recipe, but I totally think it was worth every minute.  I thought the chicken was flavorful, the breading was crisp, and the sauce & cheese on top went great with it.  You can use my recipe for the tomato sauce, or a healthy marinara sauce will work too (like Heart Smart Prego).

For those of you taking nutritional notes, you’ll notice that the nutritional information has nearly the amount of carbs you’ll want for dinner.  That’s because the breading on the chicken is primarily all carbs.  So, if you choose to go with a breaded option for your meats, usually you are choosing the breading as your carb for the meal.

That being said . . . this one is totally worth it!  And, don’t think that because it’s just me and my man that live in my house that I didn’t make all 6 servings, because I did!  We enjoyed every last bit of leftovers.  I think I better put this back into my dinner rotation this very week!  Anyone want to join me in that effort?

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Adapted slightly from “The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook”

1 ½ cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 oz.)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
*6 (4-oz) boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 1/4 inch thick)
salt and pepper
2 cups tomato sauce, warmed
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella (about 3 oz.)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees.  Combine the panko and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish, let cool, then stir in the Parmesan.  Combine the flour and garlic powder in a second shallow dish.  In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

Spray a wire rack with vegetable oil spray and place over a rimmed baking sheet.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour (lightly coat the chicken with flour, then shake to remove any excess), then dip into the egg whites, and finally, coat with the toasted crumbs, pressing firmly on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere to the chicken.  Lay the breaded chicken on the prepared wire rack.

Bake until the chicken registers 150 to 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (this takes about 10 minutes).  Top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce and 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella.  Continue to bake until the cheese has melted and the chicken registers 160 to 165 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.

Serves 6.

*You can buy packaged chicken cutlets at the grocery store.  However, you can save a little money and ensure evenly sized cutlets by turning chicken breasts into cutlets yourself.  Lay the chicken breast smooth-side up on a cutting board.  With one hand on the top of the chicken, carefully slice the chicken in half horizontally to yield two pieces.  The two pieces should be between 3/8 and 1/2 inch thick. 

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Cutlet)
Calories:  330
Protein:  38g
Carbs:  20g
Fat:  10g (3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2g

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